By: Kebba AF Touray
The National Audit Office (NAO) has in its audited report of Government’s COVID19 Response identified missing payment vouchers worth sixty-three million, seven hundred and seventy-five thousand dalasi (D63,775, 000).
The audit office stressed that regulations 26(20) and (21) of the Financial Regulations 2016 dictate that a payment voucher shall be completed for all expenditure of public monies and a copy of the payment voucher shall be filed in the originating department or outstation.
“Review of the Detailed Transaction List (DTL) print out against payment vouchers revealed that payments amounting to D63,775000 were made to various suppliers, but the payment vouchers related to these transactions have not been presented for our review,” NAO said.
According to NAO, payment vouchers not presented for audit cast doubt on the authenticity of the payment. Thus, it recommended that the responsible party provides these payment vouchers to the audit team for their review and verification.
The Audit Office further stated that their review of the contract document of Fast Lane Logistics against payment vouchers revealed that Fast Lane Logistics had been contracted for the distribution of food items at a cost of D8,587,525.
Although the service was fully executed, the audit office argued that there is an outstanding balance of D4, 293,762, due to them and that no evidence of completion of the said balance is provided for the National Audit Office to review.
“The implication is that there is a risk that the unsettled balance might lead to conflict between the responsible party and the said transporter,” NAO stated.
The national audit also recommended that all contracts executed should be paid and vouchers provided for them to review.
On the cost of transportation wrongly charged to the government, the audit office stated that, according to the contract awarded to all the suppliers, delivery of food items to the assembly centers is the responsibility of the supplier.
“However, we noted that the government was charged additional costs to deliver food items from the suppliers’ stores to the assembly centers. A payment of D1,004,800 was made to Jagana Brothers in June 202 for the transportation of food items from Jimpex to Banjul which should have been borne by the supplier,” NAO disclosed.
The NAO recommended that execution of contracts with suppliers should be based on the agreement on the contract award letter. Therefore, incurring the transportation cost to the assembly centers was not necessary and that the amount should be recovered from the supplier.